With Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the Boston Celtics have a core that can keep them competitive for years to come.
Already, the two have shown flashes of their potential together, giving Celtics fans plenty of reason to be excited.
This season, however, the team seems to really be struggling to find consistency.
A .500 team so far, the Celtics have an abundance of issues both on and off the court, which all came to a boiling point weeks ago, when Marcus Smart put his teammates on blast.
Despite their early struggles, though, NBA veteran Paul Pierce remains confident that his former squad can cement themselves as contenders in the East.
“They lost a veteran point guard in Kemba Walker, I think that was a huge loss,” Pierce said on Sports Illustrated’s “The Crossover NBA Show with Chris Mannix and Howard Beck.” "I think if he had another year to get seasoned with them, they would have been better.
“But, you’ve got to understand they dealt with COVID issues. They dealt with injuries. And also they have a new coach, a young coach. He’s never been a head coach in the league, implementing a new system, new players, new personalities, and trying to make it work. It’s not about the talent. I think they have the talent to compete in the Eastern Conference. But that’s a combination of those things that I mentioned that has them struggling early. They don’t have any consistency in the lineup. Jaylen Brown’s been out here and there – Al Horford in-and-out. So, it’s hard to develop some consistency when you don’t have your main core pieces there on a consistent night-in, night-out basis.”
This season talks about separating Tatum and Brown have surfaced in abundance, as many claim their partnership on the court does not work.
Pierce believes otherwise and says the Celtics need to find a way to build around the two of them.
“I never believed that (it’s right to separate to star players),” Pierce said. “I truly believe it’s about putting the right pieces around your great players. They’ve proven they can be All-Stars in this league. In order to win in this league you have to have star talent around the perimeter. That’s what the Celtics have and that’s something you need to build around it.
My theory proves right because when you look at all the top players and all the Finals MVPs year in and year out, who are you looking at? Top-tier perimeter guys like Kawhi Leonard, the Kobe Bryants, the Kevin Durants, the LeBron James’s, these are the guys that lead their teams to championships. You need those type of players. The Celtics have to find a way to build around those guys so they can reach that next level.”
The Celtics have plenty of talent at their disposal, but questions remain about how they stack up against the rest of the East.
Can they really give Milwaukee, Brooklyn, Miami, and Chicago a run for their money? At this point, we'll just have to wait and see.